Going Forward

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pink

If you even knew how long I’ve been dragging my feet in regards to this post, you all. It’s been sitting in my draft folder, title only, for months. It’s just so hard to write about, you know,  LIFE. (It’s so much easier to do a silk blouse roundup!) I’ve hemmed and I’ve hawed, dissected the pros and cons, and it really just comes down to this. I’m a blogger. I’ve been doing this for almost NINE years – it’s a part of me, and although I still keep the majority of my life private, my struggles over the past year have become a catalyst for the direction this blog is headed. Although my health struggles are specific to me, the thoughts and feelings and experiences I’ve dealt with during this period are universal. We all hit bumps in the road – trauma, illness, divorce, death of loved ones, anxiety, depression, I mean, the list goes on and on, right? We’ve all been in the depths at some point, some of us early on, and some of us lucky enough to sail calm waters for decades before the proverbial shit hits the fan. (That was me. I made it 38 years, folks! Cue fanfare!)

Before I delve in, I want you to know that I recently updated my About page. (This is my way of telling you that if you want the Cliffs notes version, head over there immediately. Retreat! Turn around while you can!) So I was poking around my site last week, and re-read my ‘about’ blurb for the first time in quite awhile. I was kind of stunned – “who is this person I’m reading about?,” I thought to myself. Certainly not the person I am today – I mean, sure that was me, and lots of facets remain, but my how things have changed.

I have so much that I’d like to share with you in regards to the changes I’ve made in my lifestyle over the past year – my diet, my health, my way of thinking about myself and the world we live in, my meditation practices…the list goes on and on. But before I begin that journey with you all (because sharing what I’ve learned is why I have a blog), I know I need to explain how this all came to be. The fact is, the blogs that I turn to for inspiration and support are the ones in which the bloggers have shared their struggles. The vulnerability I’ve witnessed from many bloggers makes my heart simultaneously break and soar, because I know they’ve been there too. They have felt the hopelessness and the disconnect and the suffocating fear. My point is, I guess, is that a pinnable image of the 5 best ways to meditate is helpful and all, but if I don’t feel a connection to the person who created it (and their struggles), it loses some of its power.  How can I expect you to relate to future posts on holistic and wholehearted living if you don’t know my personal story? So here goes.

Around the start of 2013, I started experiencing quite bothersome pelvic and tailbone pain. It was nonstop, very distracting, and nothing seemed to help. Over the course of a couple of months, I visited doctor after doctor, specialist after specialist, and tried all sorts of holistic stuff and acupuncture, but nothing seemed to help. In fact, the more stressed and obsessed I became in regards to trying to find a solution to the pain, the worse the pain got. (Hmm…hindsight is always 20/20, right?) Suddenly I had become trapped in my own fearful thinking, and anxiety reared its ugly head something fierce. “What if I feel like this forever? What if something is really, really wrong with me? What if I can’t take care of my kids? Why can’t I find a solution?? What if this is FOREVER?!” You guys, this was a constant mental loop in my head. I couldn’t focus on ANYTHING but the pain, which, in turn, made the pain worse.

By the Spring, I had regularly visited a pelvic pain therapist (who, if you are in Southern California, is absolutely amazing), and things were much better. In regards to the pain, that is. My anxiety had catapulted me into what I can only call a hyper-fearful state. Everything around me scared me to death. I couldn’t focus. I couldn’t travel. (I canceled several fun trips that I had looked forward to for months.) I needed my husband to be around me at all times, and if he had to leave town, my mom would fly to California to stay with me. My chest felt like it had a 80lb weight on it at all times, and my hands shook constantly. Just driving my kids to school took everything out of me. I was so anxious that I couldn’t even stick to a plan – I would second-guess myself on every single decision ranging from the kids’ school lunches to my next course of therapy. What if what if what if.

I couldn’t figure out what was going on. I wasn’t in physical pain any longer, but the anxiety was crippling. And being an extremely solution-oriented person, I couldn’t figure out why I just couldn’t figure out how to help myself. I mean, for 38 years, I had solved all of my problems on my own. Why couldn’t I stop this? Why couldn’t I control this? (Lesson from the Universe #1 – you can’t control everything. Stop trying.)

And then I stopped sleeping. I didn’t sleep for more than 2-3 hours a night during the summer of 2013. For months, you guys. I would pass out from exhaustion at 4am, only to wake up at 6:30am when the kids woke for the day. This went on for months, despite reading every. single. book on insomnia, taking supplements up the yin yang, guided meditation, you name it, I did it. No sleep until Brooklyn. My physician at the time suggested taking the very lowest dose of Xanax occasionally to help me sleep – in fact, I remember her saying, “Sarah, you are the only person in Orange County that I have to BEG to take a Xanax.” Ha. But once again, I was in such a panic mode that I feared EVERYTHING – even a tiny dose of a drug that might help me drift off to sleep. BUT WHAT IF I BECOME AN ADDICT!?  AND THEN WHAT HAPPENS? (Nothing happened, by the way. I took the lowest dose intermittently for a month or two that summer and it helped tremendously. And look at me! Fully functioning adult who is not living in a box in an alley. Imagine that.)

Except that once I started sleeping again, my body just collapsed from the weight of the months of anxiety, and I slipped into a deep depression. I would like to take this moment to publicly apologize to anyone and everyone out there dealing with depression. Because, for 38 years, I had no IDEA what you were dealing with. In fact, I cringe even typing this, but I remember saying to my husband a few years back, “I just don’t understand these people with depression. I mean, can’t they just make a choice to be happy? Is it that hard, really?” Annnnnd then it happened to me. (Lesson from the Universe #2 – until you walk a mile in someone else’s shoes, shut your mouth.) This post by my friend Gabrielle of Design Mom resonates with me so deeply, and really speaks to the way I felt during those late summer months.

At the end of the summer, I was in a really strange state. Mentally and physically exhausted, I decided to fly to Oklahoma with the kids to visit my family for a week. I needed to be around my family. I remember just trying to keep it together, which usually resulted in fits of sobbing while my baffled parents tried to console me. What had happened to this positive, capable, I-can-do-it-all woman? The one that laughed in the face of adversity, and always at herself? She certainly wasn’t around. (Lesson from the Universe #3 – your positive, radiant being is ALWAYS within you. That light never extinguishes – sometimes it’s faint, but it’s always there. I promise.)

I flew back home after a week, and felt really weird. Like, super dizzy and flu-like, and I just didn’t know what was going on. (Again.) I figured it was just a result of my immune system being worn down, and tried to press on. However, I noticed a red, circular rash on the side of my chest that was growing in size, and when I asked my physician about it, she said it was nothing and handed me a steroid cream. (She is no longer my physician.) Luckily, I also had an appointment with my naturopath that week (she was helping me with the sleep/anxiety issues), and when I offhandedly asked her to take a look at the rash, she suggested running a few tests. I didn’t really think twice about it.

A week later, I got a call from my naturopath and she informed me that I had tested positive for Lyme Disease. I couldn’t believe it. I thought it was a joke. After this year from hell? I got bit by a tick in Oklahoma and now had Lyme? (Lesson from the Universe #4 – Whatever you’re dealing with right now? It might seem to be the worst thing…it might seem that you’ll never get your head above water, but things could be worse. You must focus on all the positives of the HERE and NOW because celebrating those positives will put you on the path to healing.) I hoped the traditional short course of antibiotics would do it’s thing, but I still felt really off afterward. I chalked it up to my year of crap, and tried to move on for the next few months, but it became increasingly clear that something wasn’t right. Thus began my foray into this very misunderstood disease. You guys, at first, in true Sarah fashion, I went to the end of the internet and back (NOT RECOMMENDED, PEEPS), and oh man, did the fear take over! But you know what? It also really put things in perspective for me. (Lesson from the Universe #5 – Googling your health is just plain stupid. And not helpful. And did I mention stupid?)

Fast forward to today. I’ve been undergoing treatment for Lyme on-and-off for the past 7 months.  I don’t want to delve too much into the details of my personal experience, because that’s not what this post is about, really. Plus, it’s baffling how many people will say things like, “Oh, I knew a girl and it WRECKED her life” or “my uncle just died from complications of that” to my face. Well, thank you! So, essentially, yes, I understand what can happen. I’ve done an enormous amount of research on the subject, and while yes, it can be a devastating disease, I am happy to say that after seeing some of the best Lyme specialists up and down the West coast, I am in incredibly capable hands and am getting better with a combination of Western, Eastern, and Energy medicine.

But, you guys, here’s the deal. Lyme was just the catalyst that finally woke me up. It could have been anything, really. It forced me to look at my life, and come to terms with the fact that I was allowing fear to run it!

Right now, I am in a pretty intense part of treatment, and man, I wouldn’t call it enjoyable, but I am forging ahead with a huge grin on my face. (Most of the time.) I love my life. Really. It’s taken a year to get to this place and it was NOT easy, but I am so grateful that I am here. Do you know how wonderful it is that we are here? On this earth with people who love us unconditionally and people we can love in return? Suffering sucks, my friends, but this is it. THIS IS IT. Our one chance to make it count. To love and be loved. To release the past and stop fretting about the future. You have to make the most of today. This moment. (Indeed, all the cliched sayings are true.) Yes, I have Lyme, and some days it takes everything to get myself out of bed, but I do it. Because I have a great life! The joy my children give me on a daily basis brings tears to my eyes. I love my husband. I love my work. I love my family and friends. I love you guys – seriously, the support I have received from you all over the years makes me so grateful. I am so very blessed.

You know, before I started this post, I wasn’t sure if I was just going to dive into my Lyme diagnosis or tell the story of what happened in the year leading up to it. The reason I did write about the pelvic pain and the resulting anxiety and depression is two-fold. First off, because it’s important for me to look back and remember that while I was in the dredges of the pain, sleeplessness, and anxiety, I felt so hopeless. I thought for sure that was the way it was always going to be. Forever. But it’s not. I have no pelvic pain anymore. I sleep like a baby the majority of the time. My intense anxiety has quieted. My mind is calm. And I know with every fiber in my being that the same thing will happen in regards to my current symptoms. Nothing is forever. Secondly, I want you to know that too. Whatever battle you are fighting right now, be it a broken heart, a sick child, cancer, a past trauma replaying in your head, depression, it won’t be like this forever. You will get better. And you will be such a better person because of it.

YOU WILL GET BETTER. AND YOU WILL BE A BETTER PERSON BECAUSE OF IT. I PROMISE YOU.

Now. I hope you don’t think this was some clear cut revelation that came to me immediately upon finding out about my illness. Hahaaaa. Couldn’t be further from the truth. It’s been messy. Really messy. I’ve had more days full of self-pity, insecurity, fear and doubt than I care to admit, but I feel a major shift happening. (Perhaps why I feel comfortable writing about this now.) I have learned so much through the trial and error of trying new things, looking deeeep within, and opening my mind to the infinite possibilities of the energy surrounding us and within us. You guys, I’ve tried some really interesting stuff. And I realize all of it, whether or not I thought it was completely whackadoodle at time, is a part of my overall journey. It’s a lifelong one, but am so excited to be squarely on the path.

So, are you still around? Thanks for trudging through all of that. I feel a sense of relief, though. I’m glad you know. And now if I occasionally post some meditations or energy exercises or general thoughts on taking care of our body and soul in addition to the regular fodder, you’ll know where it’s coming from.

“There is nothing in life that could happen to you that is worse than living in fear and self-hate. And the great sadness is that living in fear and self-hate won’t keep what you fear and hate from happening to you. The only difference between the life you are living and the life you want to live is the feeling of being appreciated, loved, and accepted. Unconditionally. So…give it to yourself RIGHT NOW. This is it.”    — Cheri Huber

image: Lyozin Michael



COMMENTS (111)

Comments

  1. Oh man, what a journey you have been on. I am so glad you’re on the path to feeling and getting better. xo

  2. I have been encouraged by your journey. Thanks for being real!

  3. Sarah you are amazing no matter the diagnosis or obstacle. I’m hugely relieved that you got the answer on what it is and can be open-minded enough to accept the situation and respond with positivity and proactivity. Keep on trudging, sister! We all love you and support you – sending healing energy and light from Chicago!

  4. Wow. What a journey. I’m so glad you’re on your way to feelng better. And I’m grateful you shared with all of us. Stories like this help others to be brave, to have hope, and to keep searching for the rainbow after the storm. Having dealt with my own auto-immune disease (ulcerative colitis) for most of my adult life, I can most definitely relate. Hugs to you. And thanks.

    • Becky, I’ve learned so much about auto-immune disease during this period, and I just want to say that I understand what you are going through. I truly believe that true hope in our hearts is what heals us. I hope you continue to forge on with positivity and radiance! You’ve got this! xoxo

      • THANK YOU for feeling brave enough to post. I’m thinking about you and I know you will continue to be your cheerful self and overcome this and beat it. (Whether it’s just beating your feelings or the disease… same thing!) I have an auto-immune disease (Crohn’s) and yep, sometimes it kicks your butt. Good luck to you!
        Kristi recently posted…TGIF

  5. Thank you so much for sharing all this Sarah. I’ve been going through my own difficult journey the last several years and it is so encouraging to read your words and be reminded that this isn’t forever and to try to stay positive. So glad you’re finding answers and help.

  6. Big hugs to you, from your sister in woo-woo. I am happy to see you coming back, stronger than ever. XO

  7. I can’t imagine the strength it took to write this post, but thank you for doing it. Thank you, thank you.

  8. Thank you, Sarah, for sharing your story. I agree wholeheartedly that we connect to people’s honesty and struggle, not just the shiny-happy-good stuff. So thank you for the authenticity. And for reminding all of us that we ALL struggle. And that we do come through the other side. So glad you have, too.
    Meghan @ Life Refocused recently posted…365.2 — Day 287

  9. Sarah. !! I am so sorry that things were such CRAP for you, holy moly. And I am so happy to hear that things are moving toward Better. Day at a time. xoxo
    Jen recently posted…now it’s Zachy’s turn

  10. Thank you so much for sharing. Truly. I know how hard it is to be so open even with people you know and love in real life, so to open up to us, the internet, that takes a lot of guts. I think of you as a person who has her shit together and while it’s obvious you do, it’s also obvious you don’t all. the. time. We’re all human and some things are universal. Thank you for the reminder that nothing lasts forever and things will get better.

  11. That was so great! I’ve been suffering from anxiety/depression lately because of an illness, and I feel like I’m finally getting to the stage where I’m OK with the life (diagnosis) I’ve been given, because it could be way worse. Awesome post! :)

  12. AlisonC says:

    I am sorry that you have had such a tough year but glad to hear that things are getting better.

  13. being open can do crazy great things! xo

  14. Sarah! Thanks so much for sharing. I’ve caught on to the hints you have been dropping along the way. I’ve been VERY interested in what has been going on with you because it seemed so similar to what has happened to me in the past few years. Just change Lyme disease to Multiple Sclerosis and trade in the insomnia for leaving an abusive church situation, quitting my job, and moving to a new state with my husband’s new career.

    IN FACT, I just wrote a very similar post on my new blog,
    http://thelifedesired.com/2014/03/31/coming-out-of-the-autoimmune-closet/
    about getting diagnosed with MS and what it has meant in my life so far. I, too, was reluctant to post it.

    So I’m here with you! And I too am willing to discuss The Untethered Soul and the benefits of long bangs v. no bangs. Or trade notes on kids (mine are 7 and 4!). Or dancing. We also really really love to dance.

    Thank you! You blog has been one of my inspirations!

    • Emily, I just want to say that you are a flipping rockstar – your post had me nodding the entire time. MS and Lyme (and most auto-immune diseases, really) are similar in that nothing is black and white. And BOY, can that be hard, right? Not knowing what’s going to happen? I very well may have Lyme indefinitely, and the fear of that unknown had me in its grips something fierce, but I had a choice. To succumb to that fear or tell the fear to FUCK OFF. (Excuse the language.) I chose the latter, although it’s a daily challenge.

      I just want to say I am so proud of you, and it sounds like you are doing great. You are an inspiration to me!

  15. Man, you -never- know what’s going on with people. I’m sorry about the diagnosis (so scary), but glad that you’re genuinely doing everything you can for yourself. I like you, whether you’re feeling sunny or not. I’m hoping good things for you.
    Maggie Mason recently posted…Chairish Has Gorgeous Vintage Stuff and $250 for You

  16. Thank you for sharing. It’s so easy to think that the grass is always greener – but it’s not. We’re all human, we all have something. Can I ask you about Xanax? I have chronic insomnia. Always. Every. SIngle. Night. I’ve had tests up the wazoo. Have tried meditation, anything you can imagine, and then some. Medication is all that’s left. And it scares me. Really scares me. I function. But every once in awhile I am tired in a way most people can’t understand. And that’s when the sleep paralysis usually hits. Do you feel groggy the next day? I honestly don’t know what it feels like to sleep more than 3-4 hours a night. Especially straight hours of sleep. I seem to max out at two. I’m rambling. Thank you for sharing your journey. It’s so inspirational.

    Mina

  17. Thank you SO much for writing this, Sarah! I am really looking forward to the new direction your blog *& your life!) is heading in!!
    Liz recently posted…Coming Clean

  18. I’m so sorry to hear that you’ve been struggling with your health. But I am so happy to hear you are doing better. Sending you love and support, my friend. xo
    Tanis Miller recently posted…Mirror Image

  19. I just wanted to say thank you for sharing your story.

  20. Your courage is inspiring. Keep speaking your truth.

  21. I’m so glad to hear that you are on the other side of the darkness. It’s very liberating in my experience. Thank you so much for being brave and sharing your story.

    Cheri Huber is so great. I’ve had the pleasure of being around her and she is awesome. Plus she has helped me get through some rough patches.

    • I was first turned onto Cheri Huber by Jora, who sent me her book. (Which I think she received from you?) So, thank you for putting that into motion for me. I hope I can attend one of her retreats some day!

      • Me too on the retreat front. I’ve been reading 10% Happier and his description of going to a retreat is funny, terrifying, and amazing. I would love to go to one.
        Desi recently posted…Chilly.

  22. I wound up on your site through a pin about hair. Which is silly because I like never ever do my hair. But I’ve stayed because I enjoy your posts about health/mediation/yoga/etc.

    It takes a lot of courage to share your story – whatever the story – but it’s so inspiring. I hope you’ll keep sharing.

    xoxo.

  23. Mel Flohr says:

    My favorite part:

    “THIS IS IT. Our one chance to make it count. To love and be loved. To release the past and stop fretting about the future. You have to make the most of today. This moment. ”

    I am so sorry to hear about your struggles and yet, look where you are now, and where you are going! Your writing this post will help so many people not feel alone (like you probably did at one time). It will give them hope.

  24. I love you so much! Beautifully said.

  25. Thank you, everyone. Thank you thank you thank you. My spirit is soaring right now from all the love. Like many of you said, we all have battles to fight, and they span every issue imaginable, so we all come from the same place, really. It’s through sharing our experiences and vulnerabilities that we can begin to heal…and you all are playing an active role in that for me. I hope I can return the favor! xoxo

    • Valerie C. says:

      Has it been considered that your pelvic pain was from Lyme also? You may not get the bullseye/EM rash for months of even a year or more after you actually contracted Lyme and its deadly co-infections. I contracted Lyme, Babesiosis (Tick-borne Malaria), and more back in 1986. Since then, I dealt with constant illnesses, pain, neuro issues, etc…but it was misdiagnosed as so many things; mimicking MS, Lymphoma, Lupus, RA, ALS and so much more. I had developed PCOS, and pelvic pain and hemorrhaging forced a complete hysterectomy before I was able to have a child. It just got worse and worse….I knew I was going to die from this horrible complex disease that had destroyed my life. It wasn’t until 2010 that I finally connected with someone who knew what it was, and who directed me to the right doctor. I was diagnosed with Late-Stage Chronic Lyme, along with other very serious related diagnoses. I have lost most of 30 years to this Under-reported and vastly under treated disease. I cannot remember what having average health feels like. Thank you so much for sharing! If you ever want to vent, complain, reach out, learn, etc. about life with Lyme, I’d love following up!

  26. Thank you so much for sharing your journey. You are not only helping yourself by writing this but you are helping so many others as well, myself included. I started reading your blog years ago and you brought humor, beauty and fashion tips to my life. Now, you do all those things and more…you inspire me. I’m a huge believer in “everything happens for a reason”. I’m so thankful for the friend that introduced me to you blog. There is a reason I was guided to follow you. Thank you for unknowingly helping me on my journey in life too. Hugs to you, Sarah.

  27. Thank you for sharing!!
    As I get older it’s become easier to see that positive change is possible – whether it be physical or emotional – and that there are others out there going through the same thing and we don’t have to struggle alone. Good luck on your journey xo

  28. I have always wanted to leave you a message but never did before today. Thank you for sharing your story and struggles. We all have them and all grow because of them but it’s easier to do it together! I found you through rage against the minivan and have loved reading both of your blogs. Also, want to read Rob Bell’s book…still love Oprah too:)

  29. elizabeth says:

    Just wanted to thank you for having the courage to post this. It no doubt will help so many people. You rock.

  30. All the love and high-fives to you for working like hell to get to this point and for sharing your story. I’ll share my favorite quote for getting through dark stuff, whatever it may be, from Leonard Cohen:

    Ring the bells that still can ring
    Forget your perfect offering
    There is a crack in everything
    That’s how the light gets in.

    Thinking of you, my dear! And here’s to more awesome from 2014.
    Jennie recently posted…Molly continues to be the most dramatic one of us

  31. Sarah, thank you for being open about your struggles and revelations this past year. I’m glad you’re feeling better! I’m here for these posts or for blouse posts! love you-hope that’s not weird. =)

  32. Thank you. Thank you for sharing and allowing us to witness your vulnerability…it truly does connect us. Sending you much ease and flow on your journey towards healing and thriving. You got this! :)

  33. You are so brave for sharing. Thank you!
    Amanda Brown recently posted…That’s a Good Dad Right There

  34. I love you, friend. I’m glad you’re at a place where you’re getting better, and can share your struggles. You’ll help more people than you’ll ever know.

    (Crying right now. So proud of you.)
    Angella recently posted…Ski Out

  35. Beautiful post. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and for offering those of us in the trenches a little bit of hope and inspiration. Best wishes for continuing recovery and health!
    Jill recently posted…Best of the Looks, Best of the Books 4/4/14

  36. This is the post I’ve been waiting for. Thank you so much for sharing it, Sarah. I’ve always admired you, but now even more. Yes, indeed, there is so much to be thankful for, isn’t there?

    Aside: my 97 year-old aunt lives in your ‘hood — in Leisureworld — and that’s how she begins every conversation — “isn’t life just amazing? I am so grateful.” One of the non-secret “secrets” to her long, healthy life, I’m sure.

    • Life IS amazing – your aunt is spot on. Thanks, Asha. Hope I can see you soon!

  37. Thank you for writing this. I’ve realized lately that I have a hard time keeping up with my favorite bloggers who I don’t feel a connection to. You are so right….an article loses some of its power if I don’t feel a connection to the person who created it. For example, one of my favorite blogs is wellnessmama. Buttt, she doesn’t put anything personal out there about herself. Barely any pics, no history. I need to see pictures of the person writing the blog. Then there’s Stephanie from mamaandbabylove. Not nearly as much info as wellnessmama…buttt – we know her whole story. Therefore, she is more relateable to me, even though I’m not going through the issues she is dealing with. I just have more respect for her. She’s more REAL. I have always felt some kinda connection to you which is weird bc I don’t own one tube of lipstick, have zero blouses, and haven’t worn heels in about 15 years. I don’t know why I read your blog, but I do! But now I am looking forward to reading it even more.

    ps – I am the one who sent you a pic of my daughter, Audrey, (about a year ago) in her black ballet leotard with the exact same haircut as your daughter. Maybe that’s why I like your blog. I relate to having a cute young 5yr old daughter. Who knows. I just like your style even though I have no style! Yes, I am aware that you probably get thousands of pm’s!

    ps again. I enjoy following therecipeforhealing on instagram. She tells the story of her journey with Lyme and how she’s taking a holistic approach. One of my favorite IG people.

  38. Thank you so much for sharing your story. As I write this comment I am at yet another hospital trying to figure out what is wrong with my husband. Three years ago he went from superman to a person who started passing out for no apparent reason. Things have progressively gotten worse over the last three years and he has now been bedridden for 6 months (at 35 years old!). I really needed your story today. Some days are harder than others to stay strong…today is a hard day. Hearing your story gives me hope that we will come out the other side of this.

  39. Kristen M says:

    Sarah, I had a feeling you were dealing with this from reading your earlier posts. I have been struggling with pelvic pain since 2009. It is the most difficult thing I have ever experienced. The guilt, shame, depression, physical pain, anxiety, UGH. I FEEL YOU. I now regularly see Dr. Rapkin at UCLA, a well-known pelvic pain specialist who does a lot of research in this area. She has helped immensely but I’m still not 100%. I highly recommend her. Under her care, I have done physical therapy, light therapy, CBT (psychotherapy); I’ve tried three medications (currently trying Lyrica), topical solutions, pelvic pain yoga specialists, and most recently nerve blocks (basically, epidurals), etc. I FEEL YOUR PAIN. Look for support groups for women that deal with pelvic pain and most importantly TALK ABOUT WHAT YOU ARE GOING THROUGH. MAJOR KUDOS to you for your courage to open up on this publicly. BIG BIG HUGS TO YOU. You are not alone!!!!!

  40. As someone who has dealt with anxiety/depression off and on for years and is recently re-experiencing it, it has been great reading experiences like yours. Your desire to find a solution and search for mental calm has been inspiring, and has encouraged me to start taking stock of where I am now, where I’d like to be, and how I’d like to get there. I’ve read your blog for a long time and have thoroughly enjoyed how relatable and honest you are! Thank you for sharing your story Sarah, I hope your recovery and health journey continues to improve, may much happiness and joy continue to come your way! You are awesome! :)

  41. I’m so grateful for you sharing your story! I have found myself leaning toward untraditional forms of healing and discovery for the past two years and have found it to be amazing. I would loooove the occasional blog post on meditation, energy healing, etc. I am finding myself somewhere in the middle of woo-woo and average city girl but don’t have a ton of places to go to get both sides of the spectrum. I’m very excited and will very much enjoy following your journey further. :)

  42. Thank you for sharing your story. My brother in law was sick for a year, bouncing from doctor to doctor until he was finally diagnosed with Lyme disease and treated (for the second time, after a 15 year absence of symptoms). It truly is misunderstood, and I appreciate your candor about your experience. You have a fantastic positive attitude about going forward and healing, and I’m sure that’s exactly what you will continue to do: heal, in every way.

  43. Thank you so much for sharing, Sarah. It’s very brave of you to open up and I have no doubt your willingness to do so will help many others. While I’ve never dealt with an auto-immune disease I have suffered from anxiety and unfortunately trusted an irresponsible doctor’s recommendation to jump to a pretty serious anti-anxiety medication before attempting any sort of non-medicinal approach. If I’d known then what I know now I would have told her to shove it and run for the hills! While I do think medications have their place, and can be very beneficial, I think it’s great to see that you’ve taken a whole mind/body approach to your treatment and are trusting yourself before anyone else.

    I look forward to all of your posts — whether they be about hair and makeup, natural living and meditation, or the more serious stuff. Your readers are here because they like YOU!

  44. Thank you thank you thank you.

    Minus the Lymes (girl, that sounds terrible!) and plus a different joyful diagnosis, I’ve been climbing a similar mountain of shite over the last year and am JUST NOW (JUST!) starting to turn the corner, both mentally and physically.

    Your post bopped me upside the head and told me to KEEP GOING. I’ve always admired you for being Whoorl; I admire you even more for being Sarah. I’m super excited to read about the shoots and ladders and how you’ll (successfully, I’m truly certain) navigate each one.

    Two days ago, I “bought” a new website- I wanted a fresh-as-a-daisy start to this part of my journey. I’ve only filled out the about-me page but you’ve inspired me to go deeper in my posts and let ‘er rip!

    With admiration and thanks,
    Amy

  45. Your hair to-do’s and silk blouse shirts and darling kids/husband/house/clothes make you adorable. But this makes you loveable. I give honor to your journey and hope it continues. Love to you and yours!

  46. Thank you for sharing. I’ve just been reading the power of now. Taking in how life is about the now. Trying to let go of my fears about what could or could not happen in the future. To live for the momment I am in. I look forward to your posts.

  47. claudia098 says:

    Thank you for sharing. I have wondered and worried. Bravo for doing all that hard work of trying and pushing through and being open to learning new modalities. Here’s to a healthy, joyful, wondrous year!

  48. Lyndsay says:

    Wow. Wow! I applaud & appreciate your vulnerability. I’m glad things are looking up for you ??

  49. That is an incredible story and I am sorry to hear of your struggles in the last year. And kudos to you for asking another doctor for an opinion on the rash. Too many people take one doctor’s word as truth and suffer in the long run. I wish you well!

  50. Thank you for this post. I enjoy reading about all the things you post; however, this makes everything more authentic. It is easy to feel even harder on ourselves when we think we see everyone else managing life so smoothly and with awesome hair, and even though we know it is “just a piece” it is still hard not to compare.
    I have had several health questions over what seems like a year, but has been 5 (!?!), and I realized, as in much of my life, I am someone who likes to know the outcome, and of course, I want the outcome to be in my favor, uncertainty is a hard thing to sit with…that being said, as a society we accept people who are depressed/sad/anxious when there seems to be a reason, and it took me 38 years to realize that despite what I initially thought, that the anxiety would go away when I had answers to my questions, or answers to why I had certain thoughts/fears, in fact, the questions and fears are the anxiety itself. And, accepting, yes I have anxiety…is actually “step 1″ and not answering the question…that’s a hard thing to remember at times. Good luck and thank you for sharing. It makes it all more real.

  51. I loved this blog! A friend sent it to me as it made her think of me, I have anxiety like you’ve described, I’m just wondering if your therapist and you did anything other than drugs, like cognitive therapy? I’m just trying to find something to lesson the day to day symptoms

  52. I’ve known all of these things as they unfolded, obviously, but seeing them all written out in one narrative . . . holy crap. So proud of you, friend, and the grace and tenacity you’ve displayed as you handled all of this. It’s pushed me to dig a little deeper and live a little better.

  53. Thank you so much for sharing. I’m sorry to hear how hard it’s been for you the last year. I’m so glad that you are sharing your journey, I have found some great inspiration and books over the last while. Finished untethered soul and moving onto Gabrielle Bernstein because I needed inspiration and now it’s time to do the work.
    Sending you light and love.

  54. Sarah, you are speaking my LANGUAGE. Remember me from Facebook? Yoga and breath! :-) I’m so sorry that you’ve been going through this. It does seem – in my opinion – as though we can only experience true joy once we’ve experienced at least the lighter shades of darkness. Hard times make the sun shine a little brighter, the leaves growing on trees a little greener. Learning to come into your breath, to take the time to meditate and give yourself the gift of that calmness, it kind of cracks you open, doesn’t it? Elizabeth Lesser’s Broken Open was huge for me. So was How Yoga Works, and Buddha’s Brain. I’m proud of you for posting this. Anxiety/depression…there’s such a stigma to them and yet EVERYONE I know has experienced one or both. It’s our life, man. It’s how we roll. Not all the time, but we all experience the highs and lows and if we haven’t yet, then at some point….it will be there. Not something to be afraid of, but something to make us hold our arms out a little wider. To know ourselves a little more deeply.

    Bravo to you and to the “journey” (I know, I know: eye roll). Sending a giant hug and a couple of Namastes.

  55. Sarah, I want to cry reading this. Cry and hug you and share a million stories.

    Thank you for opening up. And thank you, Universe, for giving Sarah a break. She deserve it.
    mom101 recently posted…Gloria Steinem at 80: Not fighting against all odds.

  56. You don’t know me, Sarah, but you have been an inspiration to me over the last several years.

    I finally learned how to properly use my curling iron. (No more ’90’s ringlets!) I splurged on a Mia and haven’t looked back. You got me out of sweatpants *most days.* I am a mom of three so those are no small feats!

    I have been a huge proponent of meditation since I started practicing it ~4 years ago. I am happier when I’m meditating regularly. I am healthier when I’m meditating regularly. I am more focused when I’m meditating regularly. I truly believe meditating is where it’s at. But…BUT!…admittedly, I’ve become laissez faire about it. My sh*t got better and it’s way easier to talk myself out of doing it than it is to just do it. So, I am extremely interested in your new focus going forward on the blog and in life in general. I have no doubt your actions will inspire me to make meditating a daily priority.

    Thank you for sharing your story. I connected with you in a way I haven’t before and that makes me want to come back here for more Whoorl. My husband experienced similar auto-immune problems a few years ago. In fact, we started meditating together when all that was happening. He has worked like hell to pull himself up and out of a deep, deep hole full of mental, physical and emotional symptoms. He came at it from every angle he possibly could. I am so proud of him!! Today, he is stronger, healthier and happier than ever. I have no doubt you can and will do the same.

    Keep on keepin’ on, my friend. I’ll be cheering you on.

  57. Annie Hall says:

    You’re an inspiration Miss Sarah. I’m so sorry that things mentally and physically have been such a struggle. Being sick and not knowing what’s going on is simply the worst. I’m delighted you’ve been able to discover the root of the problem and are on your way to feeling better. Cheers to you for finding the hope and light in the journey. All those deep yoga breaths really do help (and this is from someone with mini lungs). Take care and many, many thanks for being brave and sharing your story.

  58. Thank you for sharing. It’s really brave. And, kind because you have the power to reach a lot of people.

    I hope your health continues to improve. It sounds like your life is much richer for the journey.

  59. Thank you for sharing. I have been an avid follower of your blog for years. Proud of how open and brave you are. Let your light shine. Your awesome :-)

  60. Thank you for sharing your story, I hope you realize how much hope it will give to those that read it.
    I’ve dealt with health issues the past several years, learning I could no longer eat gluten and eggs at one time felt like an insurmountable obstacle (now I rarely think about it!) Spending time, money, and headspace on trying to figure out what will make you feel better can be anxiety inducing itself. I hope you know you’re not alone and I’m so glad you are in a better place.
    Suz recently posted…TableTop Day!

  61. This is so good, Sarah. Really wonderful of you to share. And the while I was reading, I kept realizing I had NO IDEA any of this was going on for you. Another huge reminder to me that I go through the day, interacting with people, and have no idea what burdens they are carrying.

    I’m so glad you have felt the upward progress, and I look forward to reading more of your on what you’ve learned, and what works for you!
    Gabrielle – Design Mom recently posted…Teachers Change Lives

  62. Thank you for writing this. I suffer from two chronic stomach conditions, and have spent countless days and nights in the ER for it. I have never felt comfortable sharing too much about it on my blog or social media because I feel like Debbie Downer when I do write about it, even if it is just a status update on facebook. I’m hoping to get to a spot where I can overcome that and share my stories with others.

    I just happened to watch an amazing documentary called The Punk Singer, about legendary female punk rock singer Kathleen Hanna who had to quit when she found out she had late stage Lyme disease. It’s pretty inspirational, and I think you might enjoy watching it. Thanks again for sharing.

  63. Hi Sarah. I an new to your blog but you had me at “chronic pelvic pain”. I have been in awful pain and for months and it is so unlike me to be sick this long, I have seen so many doctors and had so many tests and still no answers. I have more tests and doc appts tomorrow and more on Monday. I am tired of this. I don’t want to be in pain to where I can barely walk. I want to feel comfortable wearing jeans again instead of just sweat pants. So many diagnosis have Ben tossed around but nothing seems to make sense with the symptoms. Please tell me more about this doctor.
    I am glad you are not in paiv anymore and I pray you continue in health.

    Thank you so much.

  64. Heather Love says:

    WOW! Your story is similar to my journey! Fear, worry, anxiety, depression, pelvic pain therapy, insomnia……thank you for sharing your insight and shedding light on mindfulness, meditation, yoga, self acceptance! You rock!

  65. Hi Sarah, thank you for such an honest and inspiring post. I recently suffered a bad burn and it was the first time I appreciated how profoundly ill health can affect your mental health. The way you have approached it is so brave and inspiring. I have really enjoyed reading about your spiritual journey. I struggle with stress and anxiety and recently downloaded the Headspace app after reading about it here. It’s amazing and definitely something I want to explore more. (On a different note, I also love reading your Madewell posts – we don’t have it here in Aus and I spend hours stalking their website longing for them to offer international shipping!).
    Anna – Sweet Peas and Green Tea recently posted…March

  66. Sarah. I’m so grateful that you blogged about this. It’s so encouraging to me, in my struggle with anxiety, and it was because of posts like this that I got first got help for it almost 2 years ago. Thank you for sharing yourself with your readers!

  67. Melissa says:

    As I read your story, I could not help but sit in awe! It’s as though we have travelled parallel paths on opposite coasts. I have too undergone a health crisis, depression, anxiety, etc. Ii nearly died at least 3 times while in the ICU for a week in October 2013, after being very, very sick since February 2011. I too have had those overwhelming fears & doubts that it would always be this way. I too am a “go getter”, self motivator, Miss Fix It, super woman type of personality. I am the one that everyone else runs to when they’ve exhausted their connections, solutions, etc because they know I’ll find a way to “fix” it. I too visited doctor after doctor, specialist after specialst, to no avail. This post is extremely encouraging to me! I know if can’t be easy to share such a personal & private experience with the world, but please know that in doing so, you have blessed me & encouraged me to continue with full confidence in knowing that it will NOT always be like this! God bless you sweetie!

  68. Laura J. says:

    Thank you so much for all you’ve shared. You are an amazing woman. Be well.

  69. Thank you, Sarah!!! It is so comforting to be able to say “me too”, especially to someone like you!

  70. Oh yes anxiety. I’ve had it since I was 11. I’ve learned so much about it I could write volumes. But in a nutshell-anxiety goes away the more you accept it. For EVERY symptom that comes your way you need to say “oh well, I can live with that” and you’ll see that it diminishes. I’ve had to say to myself-“I can live with my whole body shaking in a conversation with a person”, “I can drive with my legs shaking like a leaf”, “Oh well, I can live with going to jail” lol. (I was so fearful that anxiety would make me completely lose control. )Anxiety will find a way to make you fear anything. I have never been medicated because I too was terrified of medication and now I don’t need it. I now know that I have to accept every symptom and fear that comes my way to vanquish it. Anxiety lives on fear of anxiety and dies with acceptance. Some days it’s more of a struggle than others. But if I go back to acceptance it always, always, always dissolves. That is very very powerful for me. I’m sorry for your suffering. But a big Congratulations on your journey and your discoveries!

  71. I have experienced exactly what you describe as the crippling-loop-of-fear (I called it the “What If Loop”). Once I came out about my anxiety (after receiving medication and getting back to the “real me”) I was shocked to find out how many people also suffer from this at one point or another in their lives. Why are we all so secretively about something that so many of us share? Today you have helped more people than you know. None of us are in this alone. Thank you!

  72. I am proud of you. It takes great effort to accomplish what you have in the last year. I’m sure there were (and still can be) long dark days but you are doing so much to help yourself heal and move forward. You are a radiant—and rad—being.

  73. Thank you so much. I’m traveling the journey of endometriosis pain right now, and am in my fourth year. The pain recently returned with a vengeance. It’s been a tough 2 weeks.

    I so very much needed this encouragement. I’ve had those same thoughts, done the Google thing (bad!), and am seeing a specialist. I have to remind myself that good, true treatment takes time.

    Thank you for being so brave and sharing!

  74. Good for you! I can relate to so much of this. Thank you for sharing:) Good luck!

  75. I’m so sorry that you had such a scary year. I know from experience (a year of un-diagnosed sarcoidosis, 6 months of treatment) that the feeling of not knowing can feel far worse than the sickness. Thank you for sharing your journey so that others may learn to never stop advocating for yourself. There is always hope, but you have to be ready to fight for it!

    Sending you positive vibes and hope for a healthy future.

  76. HOLY MOLY! Sending you positive vibes….

  77. Anne Phillips says:

    Great googly-moogly you’ve had some heavy shit going on. “And being an extremely solution-oriented person, I couldn’t figure out why I just couldn’t figure out how to help myself. I mean, for 38 years, I had solved all of my problems on my own. Why couldn’t I stop this?” Why is asking for help so hard? I just FINALLY asked for some help (last August) and have made so much progress. I haven’t been dealing with insomnia or an auto-immune illness but the other parts of your story are understood from this corner. Thank you for sharing. Be mighty.

  78. Thank you so much for this brave and heartfelt post. It must have been incredibly difficult to write. I’m in a similar situation to you so your post is very timely – thank you!

  79. Wow, thanks for being so brave to share your story with us! I wish you good health.
    Stacey recently posted…Homemade Limoncello Recipe

  80. I am so proud of you for sharing your story. There are so many nuggets of wisdom in this post. I will keep you and your family in my thoughts, but I have no doubt you will power through it. -xo

  81. Iowamom says:

    You are fantastic!!!

  82. Thank you so much for sharing! Love the quote at the end and the additional tips/ book recs you’ve been posting in the comments. Sending love & light.

  83. Thank you so much for sharing your story. It’s amazing but aside from the odd comment here or there, we never would have known the extent of what you’ve been through. I’ve been on a similar journey over the last eighteen months, which included a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis. It’s amazing the strength that comes out of adversity, isn’t it? I’m really looking forward to hearing more about what has worked for you – and sharing this part of your journey.

  84. Stephanie says:

    This post came at such a relevant time for me. Just went to the doctor this morning. I have been suffering with chronic pain for the last 5 yrs. i have tried everything, and have come to the conclusion that it will be a lifelong battle. After gaining and losing the same 30 pounds for the umpteenth time, I am going to try physical therapy again to ease back into a moderate exercize program. Your story has given me some positive inspiration. I still never thought 48 would feel like this!

  85. Sarah, Thank you for writing about your journey and your struggles — I think all of us bloggers know how much courage that takes. I hope you gain much by sharing your story. There have been times when I was going through something bad, and being about to write about it and accept the love from “strangers on the internet” was so, so important to getting better. Sending love and light your way. xo

  86. Oh man. I can’t tell you how much this resonated with me. I went through a similar experience last summer with a stomach bug/ parasite/ Celiac disease that to this day went undiagnosed, rocked me to my core, and sent me into a deep depression. I too couldn’t sleep and reluctantly went on medication. I just wanted to know what was wrong so I could fight it and get better. So I wouldn’t feel like it was going to last forever. I had no idea there were things out there that could be a mystery even to the best doctors. I am so proud of you for trudging through, especially as a mom. I told my mom at the time that I was grateful I didn’t have kids. I wouldn’t have known how to take care of them and me at the same time. I did come away with the same conclusions you did. Especially how lucky I was to be alive and have the friends and family who so willingly came to my aid. I had a casual friend step up and come make me lunch every day on her lunch break. She is now like a sister to me. Anyway. Such bravery you took in sharing this. I remember seeing and Instagram post of yours vaguely referencing issues around the time I needed to not feel so alone. And it helped so much so thank you from the bottom of my grateful heart.

  87. Sarah- do you read momastery? Glennon is an amazing blogger, mom and all around amazing person who also struggles with lyme. She as become one of my primary spiritual leaders so to speak and I think she would resonate with you. You are so brave and honest and thats a gift for every one of us readers. Thank you.

  88. Want to borrow Bug for a day? She has anxiety everyday and I am at my wit’s end.
    SAJ recently posted…I feel a trip to the flower fields coming on…

  89. Mary Sue says:

    Thank you so much for sharing, Sarah. It can be so powerful to say things out loud. I hope admitting your last hellish year out in the open, brings you support and growth. As a fellow (former?) control-freak, your story does frighten me a little. The idea that crippling anxiety and insomnia can strike at any moment sort of makes me want to crawl under a rock. 2013 was also a rough year for me and I’ve been working on accepting life. For some crazy reason, my new mantra includes reminding myself that things change – even when I’m happy, I try to remember that I won’t always feel that way. Something shitty is bound to happen and I will feel sad or out of control again. And then that will pass and I will be happy. I used to think that once I got through the bad stuff, things would eventually be happy forever. It helps to realize that there will be ups and downs. Your journey has helped to remind me that I should be taking more positive steps to keep myself grounded – as opposed to waiting for crisis to happen.

  90. thank you for this post that me made cry and smile!

  91. Christina says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you. I needed to read this. Balm for our downtrodden souls Sister. I truly thank you. God Bless You and Your Family:) We must all keep up that great outlook:)

  92. I am reading E-squared. And this post? It was my blessing from experiment #1–IN ALL CAPS in case I missed it.

    “YOU WILL GET BETTER. AND YOU WILL BE A BETTER PERSON BECAUSE OF IT. I PROMISE YOU.”

    Thank you.

  93. I’m sorry you’re going through this. Your corner of the Internet has been, and continues to be, one of my favorite places to visit. For that, thank you. And hugs. It’s not much, but I am sending you good thoughts and prayers and yoga class intentions.

    (All of this makes me wish I blogged regularly, simply so I could offer something similar – comfort, inspiration, help, peace, or humor – in return. Maybe I’ll get on that.)

    I truly wish you hope and strength and peacefulness. xo

  94. I read this on my tiny phone while running errands the morning you posted it. Isn’t it amazing how life throws us curve balls? My 8 AND 6 year old both were diagnosed with Lyme in the last year (we live in VA). Luckily we caught it early and a month of antibiotics nipped it in the bud. Google was not my friend while we were trying to figure it out with my son. Crazy stuff.

    We ALL have something that we have to work through in life–health, relationships, death, job change. And we all have to find that power that is bigger than us–whatever that is–and tap into it in order to really make some changes…and to LIVE!

    Thank you for your inspiration–I love the blog no matter what you write about :)
    kristiina recently posted…Green Smoothies

  95. Wow. You have been on a HUGE journey, thank you for sharing it with us! I can’t imagine what it’s been like for you, (and I had NO idea Lyme disease was such a jerk) but what I can say is you’re an encouragement to others. So often the internet/blog/social media world lends itself to us putting our best “False” not face forward, only showing the “perfect” moments, best photos and hiding the rest in a closet. It leaves so many feeling like failures, alone in a journey that SO many others are facing – thank you for humbling yourself to be real and to let others know they’re not alone.

    You have a beautiful heart Sarah, and it has shone through it all.
    Ashley S recently posted…WIN with Kidoodle.TV – Fun for kids, confidence for parents!

  96. Kari Dickson says:

    Sending lots of love and prayers your way! I love your blog and admire how you are approaching this challenge.

  97. I am grateful to have stumbled on your blog through Instagram. Sending prayers and love your way!
    Lara recently posted…BOOKING IT + GIVEAWAY WINNERS

  98. Yay, Whoorl!

Trackbacks

  1. […] Twitter and Instagram. I’ve been so hesitant to be personal and vulnerable for so long. Then Sarah from Whoorl posted about her struggle a couple of days ago and I realized it was […]

  2. […] an emotional post about her health and what finally woke her up to the need for better self care. Don’t miss it. It hit home for me […]

  3. […] the data that mold and shape our style of relating in the larger context of our worlds. In her post Going Forward, Sarah James (blogger at Whoorl) opened up about how the last year or so has transformed who she […]

  4. […] that’s how it started with me. I explained of lot of what was going on here, so I won’t bore you with the details again, but in a nutshell, the shit was hitting the fan. […]